New Delhi, August 14
President Droupadi Murmu on Monday said despite having diverse identities all Indians are equal citizens with equal opportunities, rights and duties and urged the people to move forward with the spirit of harmony and brotherhood.
In her address to the nation on the eve of 77th Independence Day, the President said each Indian has many identities but apart from caste, creed, language, region, family and profession, “there is one identity” that is above all as the “citizen of India”.
“Each one of us is an equal citizen; each one of us has an equal opportunity, equal rights and equal duties in this land,” she said.
“But it was not always so. India is the mother of democracy and since ancient times we had democratic institutions functioning at the grassroots. But long years of colonial rule wiped them out. On 15th August 1947, the nation woke up to a new dawn. We not only won freedom from foreign rule but also the freedom to rewrite our destiny,” she said.
Underlining that the Constitution is the country’s guiding document, Murmu said its Preamble contains the ideals of the freedom struggle.
“Let us move forward with the spirit of harmony and brotherhood to realise the dreams of our nation-builders,” she said.
Recalling the role of women freedom fighters Matangini Hazra, Kanaklata Baruah, Kasturba Gandhi, Sarojini Naidu, Ammu Swaminathan, Rama Devi, Aruna Asaf-Ali and Sucheta Kriplani, the President said women are contributing extensively in every field of development and service to the country and are enhancing the nation’s pride.
“Today our women have made their special place in many such fields in which their participation was unimaginable a few decades ago,” she said.
Murmu said the economic empowerment of women is being given special focus in the country.
“Economic empowerment strengthens the position of women in the family and society. I urge all fellow citizens to give priority to women empowerment.
“I would like our sisters and daughters to overcome challenges with courage and move ahead in life. Development of women was among the ideals of our freedom struggle,” she said.
The President also called for urgent attention of scientists and policymakers towards climate change and global warming which is resulting in frequent floods of drought situations, saying the “culture of greed” is taking the “world away from nature”.
Murmu highlighted India’s presidency at the G-20 summit this year and said the grouping represents two-thirds of the world and India can nudge decision-making in trade and finance towards equitable progress.
“Beyond trade and finance, matters of human development too are on the agenda. There are many global issues that concern all humanity and are not limited by geographical boundaries.
“I am confident that with India’s proven leadership in dealing with global issues, member nations will be able to advance effective action on these fronts,” the President said.
The President said she has observed a new confidence in the India story. India is playing a crucial role in promoting developmental and humanitarian goals around the world.
Murmu said the world economy is passing through a delicate stage, as the pandemic has been followed by international events that have added to the air of uncertainty.
“Yet, the government has been able to navigate the stormy waters very well. India has converted challenges into opportunities and has recorded high GDP growth. Our ‘annadata’ farmers have contributed significantly to our economic growth. The nation feels indebted to them,” she said.
The President said global inflation remains a cause for worry, but in India, the government and the Reserve Bank have managed to contain it.
“The government has succeeded in protecting the common people from high inflation while also providing a more extensive security cover to the poor. The world looks up to India for global economic growth,” she said.
The President lauded the two-pronged strategy of the government - sustained push to enterprise and proactive and expanded welfare initiatives for the needy - which is driving the economic progress of the country.
“Giving priority to the deprived remains the focus of our policies and actions that have lifted a large number of people out of poverty in the last decade,” she said.
Murmu, who is the first tribal woman to become the President, appealed to tribal “brothers and sisters to enrich their traditions while embracing modernity”.
She said there are specific programmes to improve the conditions of tribals that encourage them to join the journey of progress.
The President also highlighted that the National Education Policy of 2020 has started making a difference.
“From my interactions with students as well as educationists at various levels, I gather that the learning process has become more flexible.
“The visionary policy, which aims to merge ancient values with modern skills, will bring in unprecedented changes in the education sector over the years, leading to a great transformation of the nation,” she said.
Appreciating recent projects of India in space research, she referred to ISRO’s moon mission Chandrayaan-3, its lander ‘Vikram’ and rover ‘Pragyan’, which are slated to land on the moon in the next few days, and said the mission to the moon is only a stepping stone for our future space programmes.
“We have to go far ahead,” she said.
Murmu said to foster the spirit of research, innovation and entrepreneurship, the Government is setting up the Anusandhan National Research Foundation, with an amount of Rs 50,000 crore for the next five years.
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